Summer activities for teens

This is about that time in the summer when many teenagers start to get bored. Suddenly, the lazy mornings and sun-soaked afternoons are taken for granted and they itch for something to do.

To save a bored teen from getting on mom or dad's nerves, the Ashland Teen Library's summer reading program, "Spark a Reaction," is packing fun activities to keep both kids and parents enjoying the summertime:

  • Photography Scavenger Hunt — 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 29. Bring a digital camera and meet at the library. Kids will hunt for listed items downtown, photograph them and return to the library to share photos, eat snacks and win prizes.
  • Pizza and Movie Night — 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4. Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. assembles a team of superheroes to save the planet from Loki and his army in "The Avengers." Pizza is at 5 p.m. and the movie will follow.
  • Cartooning with Curt Evans — 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5. Evans will teach basic toon techniques to get students started, help them enhance their current work and just have a silly, good time. Registration is required for this event, so sign up at the teen or reference desks in Ashland.
  • Teen Video & Board Games — Noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16. There will be a number of game consoles and countless board games to appeal to most interests.

Another way to fill the remaining summer hours is by sinking into a good book. Esther Mortensen, teen librarian at the Ashland library, says she's noticed a slight shift in what young adults are reading lately.

"As far as trends go, dystopia is still big in teen books; however, there is a definite movement toward books that are set in reality because of the popularity of 'The Fault in Our Stars' and a few others," she said. Several such titles have become popular at the library and she recommends a few of her favorites:

  • "Here and Now," by Ann Brashares, "has been flying off the shelf," said Mortensen. In a big departure from her "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series, Brashares offers a time-traveling romantic thriller in which a teen from the future breaks the rules by getting close to a time native. Together, the two must save the world's future from a mosquito-borne plague.
  • "We Were Liars," by E. Lockhart. This drama about a wealthy, dysfunctional family focuses on young Cadence Sinclair Easton, who, when she is 15, suffers an accident that leaves her with amnesia and debilitating headaches. She spends the next two years piecing together what happened to her. Mortensen says this book is full of surprises. "This is a very good story, with a huge twist near the end," she said.
  • "Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles," by Marissa Meyer. "The story is set in a dystopian world and it has edge-of-your-seat adventure," said Mortensen. "The Lunar Chronicles" series is a retelling of old fairy tales. The first is the story of Cinder, a cyborg mechanic. Considered a second-class citizen, she is hated by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. When her life becomes intertwined with the kingdom's prince, she finds herself embroiled in both an intergalactic struggle and a personal struggle to uncover her past and ultimately save the world.

Mortensen cautions boys not to judge these books by their covers. "Even though the books in the series have somewhat feminine covers — the first volume has a red high-heel shoe with a cyborg foot in it — these are definitely books that guys would really enjoy," she said.

The Ashland library is located at 410 Siskiyou Blvd. For more information, contact the Ashland Teen Library at 541-774-6994 or visit

Angela Decker is a freelance writer in Ashland and can be reached at

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